EEI Implementing Strategy to Attack Solar in AZ

The power company lobbying group Edison Electric Institute published a report in January laying out their strategy to crush residential solar generators by eliminating net metering.

Now there is growing evidence that EEI has poured “dark money” into a campaign by an Arizona power company to roll back net metering in the US state with the best solar power potential.

As part of the fallout from Arizona Public Service’s (APS) scandal surrounding lying about funding dark money organizations to attack rooftop solar and in response to Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) series of television and radio ads against rooftop solar in Arizona, the Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) wants EEI to disavow what TASC calls “APS’s underhanded behavior” and state whether or not EEI has used dark money.

“APS lied to regulators and the public for months,” said Bryan Miller, co-Chair of TASC. “EEI should give a firm ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on their own use of dark money, and whether or not they endorse APS’s tactics.” TASC advocates for maintaining distributed solar energy policies, such as retail net metering. Public policies to encourage net metering are in effect in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Three additional states have utilities with voluntary net metering programs.

Ruh roh.

9 thoughts on “EEI Implementing Strategy to Attack Solar in AZ

  1. This is a terrible trend unfolding in normally solar-friendly Arizona, home to some of the largest solar manufacturers in the world. How can they even think of going back on their historical commitment? Money and misinformation, red herrings, smoke and mirrors, you name it and they will use it. ALEC groups across the country will be spinning their vile in state legislatures locally as well. We’ll be watching and ready to respond.

  2. This attack on solar power makes me mad / depressed.

    How do we build the political power to fight these anti-solar tactics in the West Virginia legislature? Last year’s roll back of the max $ 2,000 solar tax credit happened before I got a chance to work to keep them in place.

    It would be great if West Virginia had a group just dedicated to promoting renewable energy.

  3. My immediate response is, screw them then–Arizonans should just go off-grid and refuse to contribute to the utilities’ base. But that would just lead to a two-tier system with wealthier people enjoying clean power while those who can never get enough $ ahead to set up an off-grid system are stuck with dirty power. Arizona seems to have some of the worst politicians in the country. And the irony, of trying to stifle solar in one of the best sites in the WORLD, not just the country! I can picture Germans shaking their heads and questioning their vacation plans, wondering if that visit to the Grand Canyon is safe–it’s in Arizona after all, and those people are dangerously crazy.

  4. This is what happens when PSC Commissioners are elected. If WV’s solar community wants to have a voice in Charleston, they need to combine resources to hire their own lobbyist.

    • But WV’s environmental community has been doing this for years, fielding a lobby team via WVEC. Which gets creamed on a yearly basis. Their own initiatives almost never go anywhere, and they spend most of their time desperately trying to stop things from getting worse, usually with partial successes and painful losses. I’ve wondered sometimes if we wouldn’t be better off shutting down all the enviro groups in the state and simply put all the money into bribing legislators. I think it would work, maybe–but then the next year the polluters would just ante up and outbid us, and reverse any gains. The reality is that we have little chance of winning in the legislative arena. Some people claim they play the piano in a cathouse, but the truth is, there is very little call for piano players. That’s not the main source of income in the place they call the Golden Dome. Lobbying is effective only if it comes with cash payments.

      • Not true, Mary – lobbying also is effective if it includes VOTES. Grassroots efforts can work, if we can mobilize the constituents of key legislators. We got the PSC general investigation of Potomac Edison/Mon Power under way by (a) holding a citizens’ hearing, (b) inviting our legislators to attend, and (c) setting it up so that the legislators had to listen before they could talk.

        That’s how they came to realize the magnitude of the problem, and they got on the PSC immediately about investigating the problems.

        When it comes to solar, for instance, perhaps what we should be doing is trying to mobilize people who want to switch but will never have the money to do it (in part b/c WV laws serve as obstacles). Perhaps we should try to mobilize the people in the hollers and remote mountainsides who lose power regularly, even though they pay for reliable service.

  5. i have solar and pay plenty to SRP despite this – its completely mis-information being put out there – why should i pay for more energy then i use ? that is what would not be fair

    energy companies passing on cost to non-solar customers so as not to loose profits – has nothing to do with solar use

    • cat help,
      What power company is SRP? Power companies are not pushing for you to pay for more energy. The EEI strategy is to force net metered producers to pay for grid management services that power companies claim solar producers receive from them. Here in WV we already pay a $5 per month “customer service charge” for basic electric infrastructure. Even when you zero out for the month on your energy use, you still pay that $5 fee. In WV, the two FirstEnergy owned utility front companies, Mon Power and Potomac Edison take in about $2.5 million per month for this charge, BEFORE they sell any electricity. In fact, meter reading is included in this charge, but FirstEnergy’s companies have been skipping that service lately for a lot of their customers.

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